LawFlash

Department of State Releases February 2017 Visa Bulletin

January 17, 2017

No change in Dates for Filing chart again; scant advancement in Final Action Dates chart.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its January 2017 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin sets out per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate immigrant visa availability and the flow of adjustment of status and consular immigrant visa application filings and approvals.

What Does the February 2017 Visa Bulletin Say?

The February 2017 Visa Bulletin includes both a Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart and an Application Final Action Dates chart. The former indicates when intending immigrants may file their applications for adjustment of status or immigrant visas, and the latter indicates when an adjustment of status application or immigrant visa application may be approved and permanent residence granted.

If US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, it will state on its website that applicants may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart. Otherwise, applicants should use the Application Final Action Dates chart to determine when they may file their adjustment of status applications.

It is not yet clear which chart the USCIS will select for February 2017 filings. To be eligible to file an employment-based (EB) adjustment application in February 2017, foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country (changes from the last two months’ Visa Bulletin dates are shown in yellow). In January 2017, USCIS announced that EB applications should be filed using the Application Final Action Dates chart.

Application Final Action Dates

EB

All Charge-
ability 
Areas Except
Those Listed

China
(mainland 
born)

El Salvador,
Guatemala,
and Honduras

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

C

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

15 NOV12 (was 15OCT12)

C

15APR08

C

C

3rd

01OCT16 (was 01AUG16)

01Oct13 (was 08SEP13)

01OCT16 (was 01AUG16)

22MAR05 (was 15MAR05)

01OCT16 (was 01AUG16)

15OCT11

(was 22JUL11)

Other Workers

01OCT16 (was 01AUG16)

01DEC05

01OCT16 (was 01AUG16)

22MAR05 (was 15MAR05)

01OCT16 (was 01AUG16)

15OCT11 (was 22JUL11)


Dates for Filing Visa Applications

EB

All Charge-
ability 
Areas Except
Those Listed

China
(mainland 
born)

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

01MAR13

22APR09

C

C

3rd

C

01MAY14

01JUL05 

C

01SEP13

Other Workers

C

01AUG09

01JUL05 

C

01SEP13 


How This Affects You

On the Application Final Action Dates chart, the cutoff dates for EB-1 will remain "current" for all chargeable countries, including India and China.

The EB-2 cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines will also remain "current." Cutoff dates will remain at April 15, 2008 for EB-2 India and will advance by one month for EB-2 China to November 15, 2012.

The EB-3 cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico will advance by two months to October 1, 2016. Cutoff dates will advance by three weeks to October 1, 2013 for EB-3 China. The cutoff date for EB-3 India will advance by one week to March 22, 2005. The cutoff date for EB-3 Philippines will advance by nearly three months to October 15, 2011.

The EB-5 China cutoff date will advance by one week to April 15, 2014.

As confirmed by the DOS, the EB-1 allotment should remain current in the coming months.

Read the February 2017 Visa Bulletin.

Contacts

For more information, or if you have any questions regarding the issues discussed in this Immigration Alert, please contact any of the following lawyers:

Washington, DC
Eleanor Pelta
Eric S. Bord

San Francisco
A. James Vázquez-Azpiri

Boston
Lisa Stephanian Burton

London
Tracy Evlogidis